The toughest game on the Granbury Pirates’ football schedule looms ahead in Aledo Friday.
If the Pirates are going to have a chance to knock off the state’s No. 1 team, they are going to have to call upon one of their strongest qualities.
That would be the resiliency of the undefeated squad to shake off big plays and simply point to the final score.
The defense has been very much in the bend-don’t-break mode, a big part of the first 7-0 start since the Pirates played for the 2A state championship in 1966.
Even when they have surrendered big plays, it hasn’t kept them from their ultimate goal of winning the game.
A couple weeks ago Western Hills had a season-high passing night of nearly 300 yards. Granbury won 49-30.
Last week, Southwest running back Jameion Williams rushed for 212 yards. Granbury won 49-40.
“That’s the great thing about our kids,” said head coach Scotty Pugh. “They understand that and know that’s all that matters, who scores the most.”
Pugh and his team know, however, the opponent they face Friday is unlike any other they’ve seen. Entering last night the Bearcats had outscored their seven opponents 485-54, an average of 69-7.
Against 7-4A opponents, the Bearcats entered last night beating their opponents by an average of 84-8. Their dominance, despite emptying their bench and even resorting to a running clock, led to a Western Hills parent filing a bullying complaint following the Bearcats’ 91-0 win last week.
“They’re a great team,” said Pirate running back Peyton Gilmore. “But if we execute and do what we know how to do, I think it will be a good game.
“Of course our goal is to beat them, but we also want to earn their respect.”
BIG PLAY BREAKDOWN
Through their first seven games, the Pirates have surrendered 27 “big plays” of 20 or more yards. Of these, seven are running and 20 are passing, with the longest play being a 75-yard run by Duke Carter of Mansfield Lake Ridge in a 44-41 Granbury victory.
Meanwhile, the Pirates countered with 44 plays of 20 or more yards, including 12 running and 32 passing. The longest play of the season is Ryan Suitt’s 72-yard touchdown to Nick Doughty in a 24-21 win against South Hills.
The past couple weeks have seen the big plays ramped up. Granbury has executed 18 (3 running, 15 passing) while Western Hills and Southwest combined for 15 (4 running, 11 passing).
PLAYOFF GLANCE – OWN DISTRICT
With three games in the regular season (including last night), several scenarios exist for the Pirates as they approach a fourth consecutive playoff berth.
The clearest equation is win their remaining games and the Pirates will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in Division I. Lose to Aledo and defeat Heights and the top Division I seed is still likely theirs (depending on what Heights does next week). Defeat Aledo and lose to Heights, and they could slip to the No. 2 Division I seed.
And, of course, the one thing the Pirates do not want to do is lose their final two games. They would likely enter the postseason as the No. 2 big-school seed playing a higher-seeded opponent from .
PLAYOFF GLANCE – BIDISTRICT
Who the Pirates will play from District 8-4A is very much up in the air after last week’s shakeup caused by Burleson’s upset of Crowley. Everman, Crowley and Cleburne entered last night tied for first place with 3-1 records, with Burleson, Centennial and Waco right on their heels with 2-2 marks.
The only certain thing is Crowley, the largest school in the district, will go to the Division I playoffs, and Everman, the smallest school, will go to Division II.
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